WE ARE a non-profit and non-partisan private organization that tracks information on the federal income and expenditures of Brazil’s government.
Contas Abertas has as its MISSION the permanent provision of information for the optimization, surveillance and growth of transparency with regards to public expenditures. Our “clients” are the public in general, private/public institutions, NGOs and journalists who cover public policy areas, amongst others.
The OBJECTIVE is to make sure that public resources are being used in an ethical and transparent manner, ensuring that the Brazilian Constitutional Principles of transparency, efficiency, morality and legality are duly observed. By doing this, for instance, the NGO is able to defend greater investments in sectors that are more fundamental to the society as a whole (such as infrastructure, etc.), and also to promote greater social control over the public resources.
We work through the following fronts, or “service areas”:
(a) Maintenance of a database that gathers information on public expenditures and the research on such database for information that will generate newspaper articles, which are either (i) written by journalists with the aid of the NGO (see item b below), or (ii) prepared by the NGO and posted on a daily basis on the NGO’s website and in other media,
(b) Provision of income/expenditure information both to the media (assistance on drafting of news articles and of TV material) and to private entities (sector-specific information),
(c) Training of journalists and entities on themes related to access and right to information (FOI) and on practical investigative techniques, and
(d) Receipt and investigation of denouncements of misuse of public funds. Contas Abertas investigates the issues and acts together with the press and appropriate government bodies so that they can pursue further investigations and the correct sanctioning of deviations from good practice.
Finally, the organization also receives, on a daily basis, dozens of e-mails from students, professors and communitarian leaders asking for public spending information, complaining about public fund’s misuse and suggesting topics which may interest the public in terms of state budget execution. Contas Abertas replies all the e-mails on an individual basis, for example, assisting students with their academic thesis in universities, etc.